Column: Take a walk in the woods to get rid of those holiday blues

With only a few more days left until Christmas, you can feel the tension in the air. Visions pushed at us tell us what the holidays should look like causing many people to “turtle,” or to want to bury themselves in a pile of blankets and surface after the festivities are all done.

 A few of our members have been sending me some article ideas with a common theme. Their ideas speak to a “nature” solution to deal with stress. Go out for a walk in the woods.

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We have all heard that a walk in the forest is very therapeutic and healing. And now we have found out the science behind that. Terpenes! Terpenes and terpenoids are aromatic organic compounds that are found in many coniferous trees, plants and even some insects. Plants develop terpenes to attract pollinators and helpful predators and to ward off those beasts that want to eat them.

It is interesting to note that cannabis has naturally high levels of terpenes.

When we walk in the woods, we breathe in the terpenes emitted from leaves, pine needles, tree bark, shrubs, herbs, mushrooms, mosses and ferns. The medical benefits of terpenes include increasing energy, relaxation, relieving anxiety and acts as an anti-depressant.

Terpenes are the primary components of essential oils of many types of medicinal plants and flowers. Essential oils are used widely in fragrances and in medicine and alternative medicines such as aromatherapy. It can also be used to enhance the flavours used in food additives. Vitamin A is a terpenoid!

In addition to the forest being Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet, terpenes are a natural spice kit. The smell of terpenes can also guide you to what your body wants. If a variety of weed smells good to you, it could be your body telling you to dose with that cultivar.

So get out from under your blankets and go for a walk in the woods. And as one of our Richmond Garden Club members stated, “May the forest be with you.”

Lynda Pasacreta is the current president of the Richmond Garden Club. For more information or to join the club visit

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